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Angling for Anglicans: Empty nets?

As I caught up on the day-after coverage of the pope's welcome mat/hostile takeover (take your pick) of the Anglican Communion, what remained in my brain were the U.S.-based elements Laurie Goodstein had in the NYT story (with Rachel Donadio):

Bishop Martyn Minns, a leader of that group [the new breakaway Anglican Church in North America], welcomed the popes decision. It demonstrates his conviction that the divisions in the Anglican Communion are very serious and these are not things that are going to get papered over, he said.However, both Bishop Minns and Archbishop Robert Duncan, primate of the Anglican Church in North America, said that they did not expect many conservative Anglicans to accept the offer because the theological differences were too great.I dont want to be a Roman Catholic, said Bishop Minns. There was a Reformation, you remember.In Britain, the Rev. Rod Thomas, the chairman of Reform, a traditionalist Anglican group, said, I think it will be a trickle of people, not a flood.But he said that a flood could in fact develop if the Church of England did not allow traditionalists to opt out of a recent church decision that women could be consecrated as bishops.Some said the move would probably not win over traditionalist Anglicans in Africa.Why should any conservative break away from a church where the moral conservatives represent the overwhelming mass of opinion, such as in Nigeria? said Philip Jenkins, a professor at Pennsylvania State University and an expert in the Catholic Churchs history in Africa and Asia.

The Jenkins analysis (and he would know) seems right, as do the comments from the Anglo-Catholic-Episcopal leaders quoted. Could it be that theology matters more than Benedict et al figured? (Irony of ironies.) Maybe this will remind us that ecumenism is a process, one that is not easily circumvented with even the grandest gestures. But time will tell, as they say.

About the Author

David Gibson is a national reporter for Religion News Service and author of The Coming Catholic Church (HarperOne) and The Rule of Benedict (HarperOne). He blogs at dotCommonweal.

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Many Anglicans may well be reluctant to be embraced by Ursus Vaticanus (the Vatican Bear). Being told one's orders are null and void and that one must be re-educated and re-ordained? Study and sign off on everything in the Catechism of the Catholic Church? Some welcome!

Touched upon by the Times article but of the utmost relevance, is the amount of land and buildings that can be involved in such a transfer. It is all part of an empire that is treasured by so called followers of Jesus who had no home. So is it a matter of powerhouses merging or is it a union of apostles? They will all have a very tough time on judgment day as they succumbed to Constantine rather than the Spirit.

We live in a culture that loves metrics, but personally, I don't think the importance of this action (more than a gesture, really) can be measured by the number of people who make the jump in a given period of time. If even one Anglican (or member of a breakaway group) takes the Holy Father up on his offer, it will have been a smashing success. Even if nobody comes, it's still important.

C. Levada said that the apostolic constitution is being promulgated in response to requests. My understanding is that an Australian Anglican group formally asked to "cross the Tiber" while keeping their own form of liturgy.

Kathy, any links on that Australian report? Interesting development.

One Anglican convert would make the papal initiative a smashing success? But Anglicans are becoming Catholics every day with no trouble. The applicants for the new arrangement claimed to represent half a million peope. If it turns out that only a trickle of clerical blowhards "go over" then Benedict will unwittingly have called their bluff. Maybe that is why Rowan was able to smile -- he know Anglo-Catholicism like the back of his hand. They love to claim to be more Roman than Rome. and that is precisely what will keep them from submitting to papal authority.

Two questions.First, I think this is what Joseph Gannon is alluding to, but for those Anglican priests who accept this offer, in order to do so in good faith, don't they have to at least implicitly acknowledge that they aren't priests at all (until they are ordained Catholic priests)? And isn't any Anglican who accepts this offer implicitly acknowledging that he or she was was in the "wrong" religion? I some ways this is being presented as "conservative Anglicans didn't leave the Anglican Church . . . the Church left them." But even if they feel that way, becoming Catholic is converting to a significantly different religion. Second, there are many "Traditionalist" Catholics who feel the Tridentine Mass was taken away from them. Mightn't inviting Anglicans to join the Catholic Church rankle with people who feel they didn't get to keep their own unquestionably Catholic liturgy, and yet a different religion is being invited in and keeping its own liturgy?

It is against Vatican II to call Anglicanism a different religion. The Church teaches that the one true Church of Christ is present and operative in the other Christians churches or ecclesial communities.

David, I saw it yesterday but didn't make a note of where. Will try to find it later in the day when time permits.

Thanks, no rush. I will search too. That's actually my job...

The Australian outfit is called the Traditional Anglican Communion, and their Primate is John Hepworth. Here's their website:http://acahomeorg0.web701.discountasp.net/tac/tac_index.aspxWikipedia has an article about them, if you'd like some background:http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Traditional_Anglican_Communion

1. Who is coming to dinner? How many are actually waiting at the door?Sandro Magister has his new piece up, suggesting that about "40 bishops and a hundred priests" are on the waiting list. If true, that's not a flood, but maybe more than a trickle. http://chiesa.espresso.repubblica.it/articolo/1340591?eng=yIt's unclear how many of those are part of the Traditional Anglican Communion (TAC), the one Anglican body publicly known to have made a formal application to Rome. Membership estimates for TAC vary, but they are most commonly thought to have about 400-500,000 members, most in India (about 5,000 in the U.S.). I am not sure why it is called an "Australian outfit," save that its leading bishop, John Hepworth, happens to be based in Australia. There are rumors that other Anglicans have made application to Rome, but it's not clear who.Will they all follow through? The official statements of the TAC, Forward in Faith and the bishop of Ebbsfleet (the flying Anglican bishop) sure sounded that way. If this is bluff calling, as Fr. O'Leary suggests - we'll find out soon enough.2. Fr. O'Leary adds: "It is against Vatican II to call Anglicanism a different religion. The Church teaches that the one true Church of Christ is present and operative in the other Christians churches or ecclesial communities." That is true, of course, but inadequate. The Church of Christ subsists in the Catholic Church (Lumen Gentium 8) in a way it does not in other particular churches or ecclesial communities. Which he knows as well as anyone. But the distinction must be made.3. David Nickol asks: "Second, there are many Traditionalist Catholics who feel the Tridentine Mass was taken away from them. Mightnt inviting Anglicans to join the Catholic Church rankle with people who feel they didnt get to keep their own unquestionably Catholic liturgy, and yet a different religion is being invited in and keeping its own liturgy?" My impression over the last 24 hours is that of a very warm, even effusive, reaction to this development in traditional circles. They sense this as a positive development, one opening the door more vigorously to liturgical and theological tradition, and, more dramatically, providing canonical structure to guarantee that tradition. Or as Magister puts it: "Today more than ever, with Joseph Ratzinger as pope, the ecumenical journey seems not a pursuit of modernity, but a return to the terrain of tradition."That may not sit well with some here. But for the moment, what it does is increase the liturgical diversity, not uniformity, of the Church.3. It's ironic to hear Bill Mazzella make reference to church property as a motivation for all this. Ironic, because if there is anything that will *keep* some Anglicans from finally breaking with a communion they cannot easily stomach, it is the risk of loss of their old beautiful church buildings. Given that Rome already has more real estate than it can maintain (witness the parish closings in so much of the Northeast), it's hard to credit that this is some kind of property grab.4. Joseph Gannon demurs: "Study and sign off on everything in the Catechism of the Catholic Church? Some welcome!" Yes, I am afraid that is correct: If you want to join the Catholic Church, you have to be Catholic. There is no getting around that.

"Kathy, any links on that Australian report? Interesting development."Hi, David, I believe they're called the Traditional Anglican Communion. I don't have time at the moment to chase down the best link, but if you Google it, you'll find lots of current stuff. Here is one response, from their primate:http://acahomeorg0.web701.discountasp.net/tac/tac_index.aspx

Fr. O Leary,Does this apply to Anglicans?

According to Catholic doctrine, these Communities do not enjoy apostolic succession in the sacrament of Orders, and are, therefore, deprived of a constitutive element of the Church. These ecclesial Communities which, specifically because of the absence of the sacramental priesthood, have not preserved the genuine and integral substance of the Eucharistic Mystery cannot, according to Catholic doctrine, be called Churches in the proper sense.

If Anglicanism is not a different religion, nevertheless, Anglicans are not Catholics, they will have to truly convert to become Catholics, their priests will have to be validly ordained, they will have to accept Humanae Vitae, they will not be able to divorce and remarry, and so on. Will Anglican bishops who convert be consecrated as Catholic bishops?

Thanks for the links, Mark. Numbers will be interesting--though not the measure of the move's worth, as Jim P noted, it's also true that this action was taken expressly because of large numbers of requests, the Vatican said. In the US context, the numbers would likely be at most a few tens of thousands. The "separationist" Anglo-Episcopalians number fewer than 100,000, and many seem committed to the Anglican Communion. Still, when the Episcopal Church is shrinking and down to 2.2 million, any leakage of hot air can send the balloon into descent.

"Will Anglican bishops who convert be consecrated as Catholic bishops?"Not if there are canonical impediments - i.e., they happen to be married. Not even the East permits married bishops. But they might be ordained as Catholic priests, maybe even named as monsignors if needed to help serve as nominal ordinaries in the new ordinariate structure. Hepworth presents a special challenge. He was once a Catholic priest, and has been married twice. I am not sure how his situation will be handled. He claims that he is willing to give up his episcopal and even clerical status for reunion - but we'll see if that is really true. Naturally, we pray that he will return to the Church no matter what.

Hello David,Truth is - we really don't know how many will come, or are inclined to come. We will soon now. Anglo-Catholics inclined to take the ferry across the Tiber have now been given everything they could ask for - to keep their own liturgy, own communities, own canonical structure, even their own ordinary. What we do know is just how badly fragmented the Anglican Communion is now. High Church, Low Church, Broad Church - and other churches undreamt of in Victoria's day. It's disintegrating with accelerating speed. Not all conservatives are "Anglo-Catholic." Many are frankly evangelical, especially in Africa. They are probably less inclined to join Rome, at least in the short term. The TAC will almost certainly come, though whether all will come remains to be seen. I think there is a good chance at least one or two of England's traditionalist "flying" bishops and some number of their priests and parishes may come as well. It's a harder call on the disaffected American Episcopal dioceses. I could see a number of parishes defecting, but I am not sure about any bishops. Bishop Duncan had reserved remarks about this yesterday. In the short term, this is more likely to be a blow to the Anglicans, so badly fragmented and disputatious and now given yet one more exit door to avail themselves of, than a quantitative boon to the Catholic Church, which stands for the time being to gain what amounts to no more and probably somewhat less than a large archdiocese worldwide.In the longer term, however - this could set the table for a number of momentous developments. I can't see how this is a bad thing. Anglicans who want to come to Rome now have an easier way to do so. Those who do not want to can choose another path. The rest of the Church is not being asked to do anything special.

"Vatican Bidding to Get Anglicans to Join Its Fold "VATICAN CITY In an extraordinary bid to lure traditionalist Anglicans en masse, the Vatican said Tuesday that it would make it easier for Anglicans uncomfortable with their churchs acceptance of female priests and openly gay bishops to join the Roman Catholic Church while retaining many of their traditions." I had to laugh at this Times headline and lead this morning. "Bidding," "extraordinary bid to lure" sounds like some combination of a hostile takeover and a major seduction. I'm as suspicious of the Vatican as the next guy/gal, but this goes over the conspiracy cliff. As for property issues, dear to conspiracy theorists, I believe so far that U.S. courts have ruled against congregations taking their property with them; I believe there was a recent California case.

The author misses the real ramifications. This program for accepting Episcopalian priests has been in place for some time here in the States. What is new is that this is being opened up to British and other countries (Australia and New Zealand, for example). The battle for the Episcopal denomination is lost. The liberals "won." Of course, because of this "victory", the denomination is undergoing cataclysmic decline. In contrast, the battle for Britain is still up in the air with the Anglo-catholics playing an important role. The evangelicals in the CoE are hopelessly compromised by the "open evangelicals" which are leftist liberals in all but name. With the exiting of the Anglo-catholics, the liberals will take over the CoE (the mother church), and the CoE will see the same "successes" as established churches in Northern Europe: rapid decline into irrelevancy.

I am struck by how almost everything seems to be on the table in the offer--married clergy, different liturgy, parallel institutional leadership within a region (Anglo-Roman alongside Roman, I presume.) Historical theological differences are papered over, mutual anathemas are forgiven, martyrs on both sides, well, that was then, this is now. Indeed, this could be the occasion for a widespread married clergy in the West--and it'll be interesting to see if many Roman priests seek to jump to the Anglo-Roman rite in order to marry. Of course, I assume married bishops will lose their episcopal standing.In the end, what's the basis for this? Two things that founded the deal and are not on the table--keeping women out of (structural) leadership and condemning gay relationships. Rome will yield on almost anything in this deal except those two things. Doesn't that indicate what's most important to them?

Margaret says:I had to laugh at this Times headline and lead this morning. Bidding, extraordinary bid to lure sounds like some combination of a hostile takeover and a major seduction. Im as suspicious of the Vatican as the next guy/gal, but this goes over the conspiracy cliff.It does at that. But that is the times for you, alas. Too many euphemisms and adjectives for a lede.As for property issues, dear to conspiracy theorists, I believe so far that U.S. courts have ruled against congregations taking their property with them; I believe there was a recent California case.That depends. If the parish existed before the formation of the Episcopal Church in 1783 - in other words, many east coast parishes - they probably have a fair claim on their own property, and recent cases in Virginia support that. If afterwards - they may have to abandon their old church property. But then with so many parishes being closed in some dioceses, perhaps there are spare Catholic churches (often beautiful old urban ones of the sort Anglicans tend to like, natch) available to be had...Robroy says:The author misses the real ramifications. This program for accepting Episcopalian priests has been in place for some time here in the States.No, no, that's not really true at all. The existing Anglican usage in the U.S. is a very limited arrangement, and not just geographically. They are restricted to one Anglican liturgical book, and one which many of the applying Anglicans do not care for - they prefer the Sarum rite or the Knott Missal, for example. They would have that flexibility now. They would have their own canonical structure and ordinary now, and possibly even own seminaries. None of that is true under the current Anglican use arrangement.And while Episcopal ministers have had this option available, it's been far harder for whole parishes or dioceses to come over. Now it will be easier.I agree with your prognosis of the realignment now accelerating. Liberal Catholics have been trickling away to the TEC for some time now. Conservative Anglo-Catholics have been swimming the Tiber in growing numbers. Evangelical Anglicans have been leaving to become full-blown evangelicals. These trends are likely to increase now. People are voting with their feet.

"In an extraordinary bid to lure traditionalist Anglicans en masse"That is a rather extraordinary lead, in itself. A more truthful way of reporting it would be that Anglicans of any and every description, and not just traditionalists, now have a new method for entering into communion with Rome.

Hello Lisa,In the end, whats the basis for this? Two things that founded the deal and are not on the tablekeeping women out of (structural) leadership and condemning gay relationships. Rome will yield on almost anything in this deal except those two things. Doesnt that indicate whats most important to them?Why does it always have to be about sex?I know the news stories focus on this. I know this was a deal breaker for many of these Anglicans. But there is far more than this going on in the Anglican Communion. You have John Shelby Spong going around denying the divinity of Christ and the Resurrection. You have the bishop of Los Angeles renouncing any proselytization of non-Christians. You have increasingly radical readings of Scripture. In other words, you have a communion that increasingly has irreconcilable visions of what it means to be Christian. The questions of ordination of women, or gay relationships, are simply two (but only two) manifestations of that. What does this really give the Anglicans that Rome has not already recognized in its canonical structures or theology in some fashion? There are 22 sui juris Eastern Rite Churches (Maronites, Ukrainians, Melkites, Chaldeans, Syro-Malabar, etc.) in union with Rome with their own episcopates, own liturgy, married priests, even their own canon law. That's been so for centuries. So what is being conceded? The converting Anglicans still have to sign on to the Catechism, still have to accept the authority of the Church - including her head, the Pope. "In Essentials, Unity, In Non-Essentials Diversity, In All Things Charity." This doesn't seem a departure from that.

Everything clumsy and discordant about this move is due to the fact that it comes from the CDF and not from the Council for Christian Unity. Cardinal Kasper was no doubt sidelined just as Archbishop Williams was. That was a big mistake, for both men are major theologians and tremendous ecumenists.

Cardinal Kasper was no doubt sidelined just as Archbishop Williams was. That was a big mistake, for both men are major theologians and tremendous ecumenists.Yes, they are indeed, and by some accounts, both were dead set opposed to allowing this move to take place at all: http://blogs.telegraph.co.uk/news/damianthompson/100014263/lambeth-palac... other words, if it had been left up to Cardinal Kasper and Abp. Williams, nothing would have happened. Both see large scale conversions as an obstacle to ecumenical dialogue. And presumably the Pope realized that.

Okay, Peggy, I'll bite! What would your lede have been?I must say I thought the NYT story was bang on, and every single other outlet that I have seen across the world wrote the exact same thing, and relied on the accounts of both the Vatican and the Archbishop of Canterbury, to a word. So I'm not sure where the "conspiracy" lies. I thought conspriacies were hidden! This is all out there. But as I wrote the same story I am being defensive. What IS the story here then?!

"Historical theological differences are papered over, mutual anathemas are forgiven, martyrs on both sides, well, that was then, this is now. "I would think that this view ignores the lengthy and substantial ecumenical dialogues that have been taking place for decades now.At the same time - ecumenical dialogue must continue, on all fronts. The Holy Father has opened a door, but not everyone will feel welcome.

Te Deum Laudamus! Deo gratias, deo gratias!As to whether this is a trickle or a flood, I recall that the Good Shepherd leaves his 99 sheep and goes out to look for the lost one.More historically speaking, the last major reunion that might serve as a point of comparison here was the reception into full communion with Rome of a handful of Syro-Malankar bishops and clergy in southern India in 1930. Today, that church is now a major archiepiscopal church (i.e., a patriarchate in all but name and overseas jurisdiction) and numbers perhaps as many as 500,000 faithful. So from tiny seeds . . . .

An odd twist on the buildings issue -- In Manhattan there are two (and maybe more) Catholic parishes whose church was formerly Episcopalian: Immaculate Conception and St. Thomas More. It would be some sort of poetic justice if these buildings could be even partially reclaimed for the new Anglican-Catholic structure, presumably with a name change for St. Thomas More.

It strikes me that the movement of some to Roman will depend on the options available to them, e.g. congregations into which individuals can fit.Here in our small community, at one time there was a close relationship between Romans and Anglicans. With our JPII pastor, things became quite frostier and a number of folks (largely quite conservative) came over while a few liberals defected to Anglicanism.Interestingly (as was noted here) a process for Anglican priests/bishops coming over and becoming Roman preists is in place.Jeffrey Steenson, the Anglican suffrage, chose to join Rome (he's married with 4 children) and has since been ordained. He was said to be good friends (by our Biushop Sheehan who received him), in a long arrticle in the diocesan paper, with the eminent Cardinal Law.He was subsequently ordained a Roman piriest, given a brief parochial assignment before being sent off to teach in a seminary in Texas.Meanwhile here, the acting suffragan for the area is the Anglican pastor here (who I can tell you is both a good clergyman and a priest who cares deeply for the community).These events are hardly a paradigm because each denomination is the only game in town.But it strikes me as a real generalization that BXVI has by another lurch right suceeded in dividing not only his own Church more but the Anglican one as well.This will not sit well with his defenders who share similar views, but I am dumbfounded by Jim P.'s remark that if one Anglican crosses over, the program will be a smashing success.This is ecumenism?Part of the problem in the discussion here also relates to an earlier thread on is BXVI killing "liberal Catholicism."The discussion here points up again the notion of the Cathoklic left being split - for those who think the institution must be maintained at all costs even while criticizing and questioning, probably little effect; for those on the left who are particularly engaged in not only the "investigation" of ou rnuns but also all the questions around women (like CTA, which is trying to launch a massive push for bringing women's questions to the fore) it's just another nail in...So it goes....

R.M. Lender, thanks for the clarifications on the specific rites used. But I would say that Anglo-catholics have been being bled off for the past 30 years. The last AC dioceses, which were fairly small, jumped ship. Thus the pool of AC clergy in the U.S. is not that great. It might have ramifications for the AC dioceses like Fort Worth, Quincy, and San Joaquin. But even if they all swim the Tiber, the effect won't be much (and not relevant to the Episcopal denomination). In contrast, in Great Britain, the Anglo-catholics still represent an important minority in the Church of England.

As for property issues, dear to conspiracy theorists, I believe so far that U.S. courts have ruled against congregations taking their property with them; I believe there was a recent California case.Actually, the circuit court in Virginia found in favor of 9 breakaway Episcopal parishes in 2008--admittedly, though, those facts and law are peculiar to Virginia. (The Virginia Supreme Court has agreed to hear the Episcopal Diocese of Virginia's appeal.)But I think property issues are just a tiny concern in comparison to this wonderful news from the Holy See. "Behold, I make all things new!" as St. John the Theologian records the words of the Lord.

Hello Robroy,I can't really disagree with any of that.This would have had a bigger impact in the U.S. had it been done, say, 20 or 30 years ago. On the other hand, it's possible that some of those past converted Anglicans may have some interest in supporting or even joining these new ordinariate communities. Time will tell.

The Jenkins analysis (and he would know) seems rightJenkins is a good writer and a thoughtful (not to mention prolific) scholar. He is also a former Catholic turned Episcopalian--just for the record.

This would have had a bigger impact in the U.S. had it been done, say, 20 or 30 years ago.Yes, indeed, but there is still hope. There was a very similar situation in the mid-1970s, when a group of former Episcopalians petitioned the Holy See for some kind of structure for corporate reunion. The result, several years later, in 1980, was the Pastoral Provision, which had the two-fold effect of providing exceptions to the discipline of clerical celibacy and offering the former Anglicans units of "common identity," which was the basis for the Anglican-Use parishes. Unfortunately, the second element of the Pastoral Provision was never applied in a generous fashion. The new Personal Ordinariates will see to that.

Patrick Molloy: I used to work in Hackensack, NJ (cue the jokes, I know) and there was an odd duck of an Episcopal parish: St. Anthony's of Padua. It was an Italian Catholic parish, as you might imagine, but early in the last century they were feeling ill-treated by the archbishop of Newark (an irishman, no surprise) and so hooked up with the Episcopal Diocese. Which then, in my day, was led by Jack Spong, of all people. They stuck it out, I don't know how. I'm not sure what they'll do. They always seemed so completely Catholic, but that may have much to do with the Italianicity.History here: http://www.saintanthonyhackensack.org/history.html Nomilk, BTW, why do you think Jenkins' analysis is off or biased by his affiliation? I've always found him very balanced, and hard to detect anything of the homer in his writings.

It would be some sort of poetic justice if these buildings could be even partially reclaimed for the new Anglican-Catholic structure, presumably with a name change for St. Thomas More.Not necessarily! The one group like this I'm acquainted of -- that is, a group of Episcopalian converts under the Pastoral Provision -- took the name "The St. Thomas More Society." Probably not what I would have picked, but I guess you couldn't accuse them of being wishy-washy.

Speaking of theology having meaning, maybe a current/former Anglican/Episcopalian can tell me whether or not the 39 Articles of Faith still have any bearing on the theology of those churches. If they do, there will be a lot of "full communion" issues for folks who happen to take any/all of those articles seriously ---- if they even know that they exist.A quick reading reveals many articles of difficulty: 6, 11-14, 15, 19, 20, 25 & 28 for starters.A major dilemma will be for those former RCs who find themselves in Episcopal/Anglican parishes/dioceses that swim the Tiber. Whither goest they? Does anyone think that they would want to return to the control of that which they left for whatever reason?

David G: "Okay, Peggy, Ill bite! What would your lede have been?"My lede: In an unanticipated and extraordinary move, the Vatican modified canon law to allow Anglicans to join the Catholic Church while retaining many/most/some [this i can't quite get clear] of their liturgical and ecclesiastical practices. David: "I must say I thought the NYT story was bang on, and every single other outlet that I have seen across the world wrote the exact same thing, and relied on the accounts of both the Vatican and the Archbishop of Canterbury, to a word. So Im not sure where the conspiracy lies. I thought conspriacies were hidden! This is all out there."I read some stories yesterday that were pretty neutral..though of course many reporters who don't know what they're writing about follow the Times. The conspiracy consists in the view that Rome did this to get more priests and people. Really? And then to get property? Really? How about they did for the reasons stated: they had been petitioned by a group of [Australian?] Anglicans. Why now? Don't know. That's for a good reporter to find out.

RM Lender @ 11:01 says: But for the moment, what it does is increase the liturgical diversity, not uniformity, of the Church.See Article of Faith #34: The Anglicans have held this to be a valid position all along. And so has the Catholic Church with a multiplicity of non-Roman Rites: Byzantine, Melkite, Maronite, Ambrosian, Mozarabic, Dominican, Carthusian, Carmelite, Syriac, Slovak, Chaldean, Syro-Malabar, Byelorissian, Armenian, Romanian, Russian (Old Slavonic), Ruthenian, Ukrainian, Italo-Albanian , Coptic, Ethiopian, and (of course) Anglican Use already in effect.

The highlight of the day for me was Cardinal Levada's acknowledgment (huh?) of the value of cultural diversity! CULTURAL DIVERSITY! Is this a case of you can take the boy out of San Francisco, but...?

Nomilk, BTW, why do you think Jenkins analysis is off or biased by his affiliation? Ive always found him very balanced, and hard to detect anything of the homer in his writings.Or, to put it another way: have I stopped beating my wife?I didn't say or even suggest that Jenkins's analysis is off or biased. I think with regard to the African Anglicans he is probably right. But I do think this issue probably hits pretty close to home for him and so in the interests of full disclosure I mentioned his ecclesiastical status, which I believe is not widely known.

Peggy: It's a tempting lede. Excpet you spell as well as I do. I guess I don't see much difference between what you wrote and the NYT and everyone else wrote. The NYT did not mention a land grab, wisely, though perhaps other outlets did that I can't recall. That the Vatican is trying to attract dissident Anglicans--well, that seems beyond obvious to me, and statements from Vatican officials that they are creating this specifically to provide a home for those dissidents states that in no uncertain terms. Also, if this weren't a controversial issue why was Rowan Williams left in the dark? Why the secret talks between the Vatican and some Anglican bishops? Why the expressions of shock and dismay? You don't have to be Dan Brown, I think, to see this--from the Anglican pov, in particular--as a less-than-friendly gesture. I think if this had been an ecumenical process, declaring, for example, that there were now sufficient synchronicities between the two churches to allow for eucharistic sharing or priest-swapping and such, that would also be extraordinary but without the high drama of subterfuge and sheep-stealing accusations and such.

Um, Nomilk, you used the wife-beating tactic against Jenkins. Also, may I assume you are Catholic? If so, I assume that should skew our view of your comments? That and the fact that you don't identify yourself. And you don't have a track record of scholarship and high regard that Jenkins does, e.g...

I had the same reaction as Peggy to that headline and lede -- I think it's just the difference between "luring" and "accommodating." The "luring" characterization is more dramatic, obviously, but putting it that way makes judgments about the intent that seem a little extreme. I am having trouble keeping up with this, myself. (It would have been much better for me if the Vatican had waited a week or so to spring this on us...) Has anyone linked to this "Room for Debate" forum at the NYT site yet? It features our very own David Gibson and Cathy Kaveny. And this provocative thought from John Allen:

By the way, theres also nothing preventing the Anglican Communion from creating similar structures to welcome aggrieved Catholics who support all the measures these disaffected Anglicans oppose. Certainly, after today, the Vatican would have no basis to condemn such a move as an ecumenical low blow.

Of course, some would say the Episcopalian Church already is such a structure.

Yes, the horrible sin of a misplaced adjective! What vulgarians!You'd think they were writing on deadline or something...

I think if this had been an ecumenical process, declaring, for example, that there were now sufficient synchronicities between the two churches to allow for eucharistic sharing or priest-swapping and such, that would also be extraordinary but without the high drama of subterfuge and sheep-stealing accusations and such.It would be all of that, to be sure - but it would beg the question of whether there was sufficient theological agreement between Rome and Canterbury to allow that. And that agreement has not happened yet. And it is less likely now that the Anglicans have proceeded to not only ordain women but consecrate them as bishops as well. For that matter - whatever your theological posture - it is becoming harder to discern to what extent Anglicans themselves agree on many of these questions. But I think we're both edging toward the same conclusion here: Rome, or the Pope and a decisive chunk of the curia, at any rate, have decided that ARCIC is an exhausted project, and that whatever reunion might happen may only achieved by a vehicle like this one rather than a straight-up rapprochement. Time will tell if they're right or not.I don't blame Rowan Williams for being unhappy about all of this, especially the short notice. But he must realize as well as anyone that is as much the result of Anglican ruptures (some of them longstanding, given that TAC left the fold decades ago) as anything that's been done in Rome. In fact, in the end, perhaps the departure of the remaining Anglo-Catholics will make his job of achieving consensus within the Anglican Church easier.

David Gibson:Another property with a tangled story similar to the Hackensack church is that of San Salvatore Protestant Episcopal Church on Broome St in lower Manhattan. It was set up by Episcopalians to minister to Italians, was used by police as a command post when Irish draft rioters threatened, is now a Ukrainian church and soon may be part of Chinatown. It will no doubt succumb to gentrification.http://www.nychinatown.org/storefronts/broome/359broome.html

You are likely correct re San Salvatore. I doubt gentrification is a real threat in Hackensack, however.

David: something wrong with my spelling?

Peggy, don't be so sensitive. I suspect "unanticapted" is how they taught you to spell the word in Chicago. Or perhaps it is closer to the Latin?

Maybe the Greek!

Here's the question in my mind. They conservative Anglicans may agree with Catholics on issues like homosexuality and the ordination of women, but there were, and still are, fundamental disagreements between the two churches that go back centuries. Why does it make sense for large groups of Anglicans to change their minds en masse, or for the Catholic Church to expect them to? Does real conversion actually happen in groups? Do all these people even know what the "have" to believe?

Greek? You guys really are old school!PS: Another reason the Anglicans want to join up:Oct. 15 (Bloomberg) -- Australias largest Anglican diocese lost A$160 million ($146 million) in assets during the financial crisis on high-risk investments...http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=20601081&sid=akAD4AXUKep8

Bill Donohue agrees about the "alluring" news coverage:http://www.catholicleague.org/release.php?id=1698 "Several news stories today maintain that the Vatican lured and bid for Episcopalians to join the Roman Catholic Church. This is nonsense...""Happily, there were exceptions to this Groupthink, e.g., the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette and the Washington Times. They did not engage in Catholic baiting and reported the story accurately." "Why the Catholic baiting charge? Because it feeds the stereotype that the conniving Vatican has embarked on another one of its legendary power grabs. Pure bunk, as any independent-minded source would acknowledge. One question: Who was the Vatican in a bidding war with?"

David: Should I worry that Bill D. is agreeing with me (and Mollie!)? What's going on here?

Should you worry? Of course!But I must say he points to the stories by Ann Rodgers in Pittsburgh, and she is one of the best on this topic. http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/09294/1007034-82.stmBroken clocks, as they say...

There are a lot of questions about all this that remain unanswered. Here are a few:1. How will they handle the confirmation question? Currently, we don't accept Anglican confirmation as valid. 2. What impact will the establishment of a Personal Ordinariate have on the "ordinary" way Anglicans are received as individuals (via the Rite of Reception, in any parish church)? Will they have to be received into the Ordinariate?3. Will there be future ordinations of priests, deacons, and bishops to supply clergy proficient in the Anglican Use for that small community, or is it intended only to continue until the present generation dies out? Will there be separate seminaries?4. Will priests who serve in these communities need also to gain proficiency in the Novus Ordo and be willing to serve in it as needed, given the priest shortage?5. Will this move make unity more difficult to achieve, because you have drawn off the major supporters of union with Rome from the Anglican communion?6. Will this move hasten the acceptance of women bishops and openly gay bishops within the Anglican communion, and thus catalyze Roman withdrawl from further ecumenical dialogue with that body?7. Will the unilateral nature of the pope's initiative be a foretaste of things to come for those who contemplate the move to union with Rome, and will it in fact become a disincentive?

Um, Nomilk, you used the wife-beating tactic against Jenkins. I said or implied something about Prof. Jenkins that is not true? Hmm, I must have missed that, but as someone lacking a track record of scholarship and high regard, I am willing to be instructed.

RM Lender writes, "I dont blame Rowan Williams for being unhappy about all of this, especially the short notice. But he must realize as well as anyone that is as much the result of Anglican ruptures."Like others, I see this as a major rebuff of Rowan Williams. His do nothing and keep "everyone at the table" strategy has been disastrous, allowing for greater polarization and entrenchment. History will view him very poorly.

RM Lender--I did not say the deal is for land. Just pointing out how many problems can exist because of all the land these empire hierarchs control.You also wrote: "The Church of Christ subsists in the Catholic Church (Lumen Gentium 8) in a way it does not in other particular churches or ecclesial communities. Which he knows as well as anyone. But the distinction must be made." Congar had this placed into the document to show how churches of the Reformation dwell in the church. It was a tremendous victory at the time for ecumenism but is by no means definitive. Only dogmatists want to say they are better Christians than others. It is the Constantinian hierarchy which both Episcopals and Roman Catholics support.The irony of all this is Benedict is trying to even the score for all those Catholic priests who became Episcopal priests. At one time Episcopal dioceses stopped taking applications from former priests.The further truth is both hierarchies are in this equation are becoming increasingly irrelevant to ordinary Christians who know their faith is the God who sent Jesus. Not all these hierarchs who live in palaces.

Hello Bill,I did not say the deal is for land. Just pointing out how many problems can exist because of all the land these empire hierarchs control.That's fair enough. I'm sorry if I misread what you you were saying.I do hate getting into source theory when it comes to conciliar documents (to say nothing of Scripture). I take the documents as they are. And there's no question that LG opens up some new space for ecumenism. But it still affirms the Church's unique status, albeit with a new term. I don't know about "better Christians." There are probably a good number of Protestants, better men and woman than I, whom I know that I hope and expect to meet in heaven, at least once I've finished my long stay in Purgatory, assuming I am fortunate enough to end up even there. It is not about people as it is about the Church, and the point is that there is something special about the Church. Some of where it is may be hidden to us, but some of it is not, and we have Matthew 16, apostolic succession and the sacraments to confirm that: for all of its deeply flawed human elements, the Church has Truth, capital T. If I did not believe that, I would not be Catholic. I'd be something else. Or at least stay home to watch NFL pregame on Sunday mornings.If this be dogma, well, make the most of it. I am not wise enough or holy enough to be my own pope. The irony of all this is Benedict is trying to even the score for all those Catholic priests who became Episcopal priests.For my part, I'm simply unable to read the Pope's mind or his ulterior motivations. I am always willing to at least entertain the charitable possibility. That goes for Rowan Williams as well.

"There are probably a good number of Protestants, better men and woman than I, whom I know that I hope and expect to meet in heaven, at least once Ive finished my long stay in Purgatory, assuming I am fortunate enough to end up even there."Hello R.M,You should have stopped right there. Matt:25:36-41 is astronomically more important than Matt: 16, which started to be referenced once we got all those power hungry bishops of Rome. When we prize being Catholic over being more virtuous we are in trouble. Which the Church has been since the fourth century. If the Protestants are better than us we should follow them rather than being embroiled in Empire which has fostered wars, killings of Christians and everyone else.Benedict should lead by example rather than foster unity with an empire that Constantine built.

Hello Bill,You should have stopped right there. Matt:25:36-41 is astronomically more important than Matt: 16, which started to be referenced once we got all those power hungry bishops of Rome. When we prize being Catholic over being more virtuous we are in trouble. Which the Church has been since the fourth century.1. "Astronomically more important?" According to who? 2. The trouble began long before Constantine (the apparent father of all evils). You can see the first power hungry bishop of Rome in St. Clement (late first century, disciple of St. Peter)...who left an ample pile of corrective epistles asserting something looking a lot like petrine power. And St. Victor. And Zephyrinus. And Stephen I. And Denis I. And...3. But your highlighting of Matthew 25 is helpful. Helpful not only in that it admonishes us to remember the second great commandment, but that there is such a very real thing as hell, and that we stand in real risk of it: "Then he shall answer them, saying: Amen: I say to you, as long as you did it not to one of these least, neither did you do it to me. 46 And these shall go into everlasting punishment: but the just, into life everlasting."

Perhaps other Episco-Catholic converts would want to pipe up here, but despite the fact that the Episcopal Church looks a lot like "Catholic Lite," Episcopal parishes tend to be fiercely independent, see their relationship to their bishops far differently (the bishops are there at their sufferance, not vice versa), and do not hesitate to withhold their contributions to the diocese when they disagree with policy or teachings.The fact that individual Episcopal parishes are leaving ECUSA and aligning with Nigerian bishops, going indie, or knocking on Rome's door strikes me as evidence of that sense of parochiality. I watch these developments with interest, even a certain amount of hope. But I can't help wondering whether would-be Anglican uniates (or whatever we're going to call them) aren't simply looking for relief from the intense national and global fractures.Given what I see as a growing degree of congregationalism (lower-case "c") among many parishes in worldwide Anglicanism, it's hard to imagine them easily accepting a top-down central authority like Rome and Roman teaching, as Bishop Minns points out above.

When Jean says "its hard to imagine them easily accepting a top-down central authority like Rome and Roman teaching, as Bishop Minns points out above" she confirms something I've suspected for a while. Sometimes, especially when you talk to people who are exasperated with processes that do not lead to the conclusions they want, the cry is for more authority! But while people may want somebody to read the riot act to their enemies, they would not very likely enjoy having the riot police tell them what to do, especially if they've grown up in a church culture that taught them they didn't have to. There is a certain type of Anglican convert (not Jean) who thinks that Roman authority is the answer, until they have some experience of it directed at them. Then, it's huff and puff and how dare you. By having a separate "household" so to speak, perhaps the people who are interested in taking up the pope's offer think they can make their own rules and not be subject to Roman authority to the same degree as the rest of us are. But they ought to think really hard about this, because the evidence is against such a supposition.

While this conversation has been interesting it is also quite speculative since we do not as yet have the Apostolic Constitution outlining exactly what is going to be in place. I am quite interested in seeing how the liturgy is going to be handled. Will it be constructed from the Book of Common Prayer? Will the "spirituality" be classically Anglican and, further, to what extent will it accomodate a lot of the devotional development which grew up in the Latin Church in the early modern period? How will the bishop be nominated to head this new Ordinariate? There is enough here to keep theologically interested commentators busy for a bit.

I keep wondering what Ephraim Radner thinks of all this. His opinion is one that I look forward to reading.

OK Rita, do I need to Google "Ephraim Radner" or are you going to share?Or am I making a fool of myself by asking about someone everyone else here knows about?!I think Professor Cunningham is spot-on, in that there are many more shoes to drop--not all of which may please the Anglicans who are supposed to be "crossing over," as John Edwards might put it. While many will rightly focus on the details and the underlying principles or problems here, I think the "reception" and transmission of this action out in the field will be as important to its success (however one defines that) as anything. There is a good deal of criticism (some of it mine, much of it represented here) as well as triumphalism going on, and that's just within the Anglican and ex-Anglican community. As I convert, I know we are a dangerous breed, and Fr. George Rutler seems to confirm that with a commentary on the Catholic News Agency (the alt-CNS) that is making the round of the traddie sites. He predicts the "humiliated" Rowan Williams will soon convert to Rome.Rutler's lede:

It is a dramatic slap-down of liberal Anglicanism and a total repudiation of the ordination of women, homosexual marriage and the general neglect of doctrine in Anglicanism. Indeed, it is a final rejection of Anglicanism. It basically interprets Anglicanism as a spiritual patrimony based on ethnic tradition rather than substantial doctrine and makes clear that it is not a historic "church" but rather an "ecclesial community that strayed and now is invited to return to communion with the Pope as Successor of Peter.

http://www.catholicnewsagency.com/column.php?n=987

David, sorry, I didn't mean to be mysterious. I thought perhaps he was better known. I think Ephraim Radner is one of the most thoughtful conservative voices in the American Episcopal Church today. Teaches theology. Was (is?) a parish priest. Has written a lot of thought-provoking stuff about dialogue and how it has been weighted against conservatives in the recent debates in the Episcopal Church here. Raises good theological questions, and has resisted the tendency to split the church into ideological camps.

Rita, you can never assume anything with me. But--in seriousness--thanks--I'll look up his writings.

He predicts the humiliated Rowan Williams will soon convert to Rome.Actually, Fr. Rutler doesn't "predict" that--he says he wouldn't be surprised by such an outcome--but it's certainly not outside the realm of possibility. As Aidan Nichols pointed out, "The late Eric Mascall, doyen of Anglo-Catholic theologians, once declared that he had hoped to see three successors: Rowan Williams, John Saward, and Andrew Louth. But the first had become Liberal, the second Roman, and the third Orthodox." Perhaps Williams will shake off his liberalism as his beard lengthens.

I'm grateful to Fr. Rutler for making the NYT's angle seem mild and charitable. I guess I can't complain that they characterized this decision as an attempt to "lure" Anglicans, if the alternative is calling it "a dramatic slapdown"!

John Allen was interviewed this morning on NPR about the Pope's decision. I thought Allen did a good job roughing out for the average NPR listener, in the two to three minutes of air time he had, the contours of the major issues the decision may generate. Of course, for dotCommonweal posters and afficionados, Allen's analysis was mere pablum. ;)

A lot of the early aftermath commentary has focused liberal Catholic view on celibacy - but I continue to feel the real elephant in the room will be (the continually sore) topic of women in the Church.But what do I know?

If an episcopal bishop converts what will be his role or function? Seems he will function as they do now with their (converted) people but in unity or subjection to Rome. The sure thing here is they will not function as rites do, quietly in the background. Most of these bishops are very much in the Western spotlight and it will be something, to say the least, how they respond to the usual issues.

I wrote: "You should have stopped right there. Matt:25:36-41 is astronomically more important than Matt: 16, which started to be referenced once we got all those power hungry bishops of Rome. When we prize being Catholic over being more virtuous we are in trouble. Which the Church has been since the fourth century."R.M. responded."1. Astronomically more important? According to who? "R.M., glad you asked. If you follow the words of Jesus he never talks about faith as a creed or doctrine. He talks about an active faith and trust in God in which the believer accepts God reighning in us which results in our great love of nieghbor as a mandate. It is a faith mainly responded to by the downtrodden and especially to little ones who do not complicate things."At that time Jesus said, "I praise you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because you have hidden these things from the wise and learned, and revealed them to little children." Matthew 11:25

"the real elephant in the room" will most likely the situations that Jean outlines at 9:39 above. These folks are in for SUCH a rude awakening when the cold heavy hands of Rome's minions descend on them once they have 'poped." Their reaction will most likely be "poped" with an extra "o" in the word.As I have predicted elsewhere, the recidivism rate will be hidden, but it won't surprise me one bit to see it become substantial within 12 months or so of jumping the broom.

The Latest at NCR: Young Voices' Jamie Manson's "Misogynist? Homophobic? We've Got a Church for You!" *She ties the Anglican move to the Fr. Willenborg story.And some of you are unhappy sith Ms. Goodstein and the NYT headlines?

Thanks, Bob. Three interesting threads that got my attention but don't know enough to comment:a) Rutler basically states that this agreement defines Anglicanism as an "ecclesial community'; not a "church". Realize in my historical readings on Vatican II documents, that this was an issue on the floor but was voted on using the definition - churches especially in regard to those separated Christian churchs (Reformation time period)?b) Manson's focus on the sexual morality and its lived out reality - lots of mixed messages here - throw in the north-south hemisphere differences - not sure what to make of this?c) the role of women - ???

However, you slice it, this is a major step to a married priesthood. It may not be intended but the impact will be huge.

One headline I saw .... "Vatican to Anglicans: Come be bigots with us!" Given the Vatican's outreach to extreme conservatives like the SSPX bishops, I can see where this stuff comes from.I don't think, though, that the inclusion of the trad Anglicans will really help with the hope for women's ordination (the guys joining us are the ones against having women bishops) or even with married clergy. Here's a bit from History of the Pastoral Provision by Rev. William H. Stetson on the subject of Episcopal priests in the US ...."When asked the difference between being an Episcopalian priest and a Catholic priest, one former Episcopalian priest answered, about twenty thousand dollars. The financial arrangements for Catholic clergy are not suited to the needs of married men .....Another difference brings additional challenges to the married priest in the Catholic Church, that is the size of the flock. The average parish in the Episcopal Church might have less than 200 families; in the Catholic Church parishes of over a thousand are common. Even though the married priest is prohibited from having the ordinary care of souls in a parochial setting nevertheless his work load as a Catholic priest will usually be much greater, whether as a hospital chaplain or campus minister. Indeed, helping in a parish on the weekend, as most of them do, can be very time intensive. This can, and has, led to serious repercussions on married life. The pastoral care of priests wives is a new topic for the Catholic diocesan bishop ..... It is clear in everyones mind that this is not a proving ground for optional celibacy in the Catholic Church. In fact, the special challenges of a married clergy mentioned above and recently pointed out by bishops of the Eastern Catholic Churches show the value of the norm of celibacy for the sake of the kingdom in the Western Church."Sadly, I think this is just going to add more conservatives to our church and not so much help with progressive goals.

Libby Purves opines:http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/comment/columnists/libby_purves/article... may choke on raw meat of Catholicism

The reason that married priests do not work in the Catholic church is because Catholic parishes are not true communities. For what its worth Protestant churches ar usually true communities and their member contribute more per person as one would expect people to do when they feel part of a community.

However, you slice it, this is a major step to a married priesthood. It may not be intended but the impact will be huge.Nah, there have always been Eastern churches in communion with Rome with married clergy and, while that route has tempted a few Westerners, it really has not altered the discipline of the Latin church at all. In fact, the discipline of the Latin church has more often been an example to the Eastern churches. In that regard, I often think of the great Melkite priest and historian Fr. Cyril Korolevsky, who in his definitive anti-Latinization treatise, "Uniatism: definition, causes, effects, scope, dangers, remedies" (1927), plainly asserted that the discipline of clerical celibacy was one that the Eastern churches ought to consider adopting, as some, like the Syrian-rite Catholic churches in India, have done.

Benedict's initiative sidelined not only the Pontifical Council for Christian Unity and the Archbishop of Canterbury but also Catholic Bishops in England and Wales and everywhere else. Similarly his reintegration of the SSPX sidelined Catholic Bishops of France and elsewhere, who were fiercely opposed (and who no doubt indulged some secret "I told you so" Schadenfreude when the Williamson scandal broke). Similarly, in issuing the Motu Proprio reinstating the Mass of 1962 he undercut the authority of bishops. In all three cases he makes special arrangements to cater to what he sees as the religious freedom and spiritual needs of ultra-traditionalists. In each case he appeals to the idea of church unity and a generous Catholic embrace of those who have been alienated.

But how many have asked in practice for the 1962 Mass?How many SSPX people have been effectively reintegrated?And how many Traditional Anglicans will really take up the papal offer?Anglo-Catholics much prefer the perch they have enjoyed in the Anglican world for so long. Very few will accept the cold realities of actually becoming Roman Catholic.Being allowed to sing your usual hymns is a mere sop. These people know that they will also have to subscribe to Catholic doctrine and discipline just as much as every other Roman Catholic. Even in the offical press conference Archbishop Nichols said that elements compatible with Catholic teaching will be retained. That is far from a total acceptance of Anglican tradition. In addition, the converts will have to acquire the entire sacramental practice of the Roman Church. Their Eucharistic Prayers will have to be replaced. They will have to give at least obsequium to the teachings on artificial contraception etc. about which they have never shown any enthusiasm. Hilariious is the fact that the TAC is led by a divorcee priest -- shades of Williamson again -- in short this is a typical Ratzinger mess.

Hilariious is the fact that the TAC is led by a divorcee priest shades of Williamson again in short this is a typical Ratzinger mess.Grumpy much? I never find divorce hilarious, but I do find it funny that supporters of married clergy would raise the specter of divorce. If you have a married clergy, you're eventually going to have ALL the issues that surround marriage: widowhood, separation, divorce, custody and property disputes, etc.On the liturgical questions, there are many different flavors of Anglo-Catholicism, including even Anglo-Papalism. Some Anglo-Catholics already use and are quite comfortable with the 1970 Roman Missal. For more BCP-minded folks, there is the already approved Book of Divine Worship for the Anglican Use. And I'm sure some Sarum-rite liturgical books could be resurrected and approved in short order. So there will be plenty of congenial options for converting Anglicans.As Ven. J.H. Newman said, a thousand difficulties do not make a single doubt. I have no doubt that the Anglican personal ordinariates will be vessel of much grace in the years to come.

In a manner similar to how he correctly handled and manuvered the delicate relationship between Islam and Rome, I have the feeling that Pope Benedict knows what he is doing. He certainly has a better understanding of this and other similarly delicate situations, than is eveident from any American commentary I have read or heard.

Agreed, Fr. O'Leary. Good points.

"If you have a married clergy, youre eventually going to have ALL the issues that surround marriage: widowhood, separation, divorce, custody and property disputes, etc."Quite true. And it's worth noting that married clergy in the Roman Catholic church has been a growing trend since the 1970s, and is now so commonplace that probably a majority of parishioners in the US has first-hand experience with married clergy, and nearly every diocese has dozens or hundreds of them today. I'm referring, of course, to the renewed diaconate. Priests aren't the same as deacons, but they're both clergy, and canonically the rules and regs are pretty much the same. American bishops have been dealing with all of the married-clergy-related issues Nomik mentions for decades now.

"Even in the offical press conference Archbishop Nichols said that elements compatible with Catholic teaching will be retained. That is far from a total acceptance of Anglican tradition."That is true. They won't be members of the Anglican Communion anymore. They will be in communion with the Catholic Church. Not everything will be the same. There will be changes, and some of them will be difficult.Istm that's part of the price of unity.

"Benedicts initiative sidelined not only the Pontifical Council for Christian Unity and the Archbishop of Canterbury but also Catholic Bishops in England and Wales and everywhere else. Similarly his reintegration of the SSPX sidelined Catholic Bishops of France and elsewhere, who were fiercely opposed (and who no doubt indulged some secret I told you so Schadenfreude when the Williamson scandal broke). Similarly, in issuing the Motu Proprio reinstating the Mass of 1962 he undercut the authority of bishops."Personally, I would like to see the Holy Father avail himself of wide consultation in making these momentous decisions. He doesn't need to do everything Cardinal Kasper or Archbishop Williams desire - he is Supreme Pontiff after all - but I think it would be wise if he would solicit their feedback and keep them in the loop. I think it's generally agreed that he has made gaffes in the past that might have been prevented with wider consultation.Fundamentally, I don't see this move as a gaffe, though.

"In the end, whats the basis for this? Two things that founded the deal and are not on the tablekeeping women out of (structural) leadership and condemning gay relationships. Rome will yield on almost anything in this deal except those two things. Doesnt that indicate whats most important to them?"Hi, Lisa, I have to say I disagree with this analysis. What "founded the deal" is the Biblically mandated and earnestly desired unity in Christ.And I would think that the stiuation is the reverse of what you describe: it may well be an attachment on the part of some Anglicans to women clergy and gay marriage that would prevent their reunification. If, in their view, those things are core tenets of Anglicanism (despite the fact that the Anglican Church flourished for centuries without either one), then it would seem that unification isn't possible for them.

Re: "The financial arrangements for Catholic clergy are not suited to the needs of married men ..Another difference brings additional challenges to the married priest in the Catholic Church, that is the size of the flock. The average parish in the Episcopal Church might have less than 200 families; in the Catholic Church parishes of over a thousand are common." Is "we're not paying you a living wage and we're going to over-work you, so don't expect the possibility of a reasonable family life" really a good message about clergy from a Church that claims to value family? If, say, farm owners made a similar argument about why their workers should be celibate, the Christian community would raise a ruckus--and rightly so! We'd need a better argument for mandatory celibacy than "we don't treat priests well enough to let them marry."

Hi Jim,I wish I could agree with you that maintaining the unity of the Church is the motivating factor here. And the very moment that Benedict begins an outreach to the left--especially if he does an end-run around his own ecumenism folks in his urgency to do so--then I'll reconsider. I don't mean an outreach to those who don't sign on to Chalcedon, but those who differ from Rome on matters not nearly as important as ecclesiology (an issue with the TAC,) and the authority of Vatican II (SSPX.) I'd say that most of the moderates/progressives who are being invited to leave (or booted out) are disagreeing with Rome on matters far less significant than those that need to be hammered out with SSPX or the TAC.And even if Benedict were acting out of a pure concern for unity, it seems clear that the TAC is not. Straws that break the camel's back tend to have great symbolic importance in situations like this. First the traditionalist Anglicans were grumpy at the ordination of women, and only agreed to stay if they didn't have to have women priests themselves. And allowing partnered gay clergy, even bishops? That's what drove them to seek shelter with Rome. There'd been a trickle of interest before--but these two issues combined are what drive the current hubbub. And Rome likewise seems to have a strong interest in keeping women out of structural leadership, even whispering "infallible," while, thank God, not formally invoking it. And then there's Roy Bourgeois. And wasn't it Walter Kasper, of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity, who said that if the Anglicans accepted women bishops, that would threaten the continuation of the Anglican-Roman Catholic dialogue? And of course Rome is very interested in rejecting gay relationships, and even speaking against gay men among our celibate clergy. I wish it were about unity. But Rowan Williams pleaded with the traditionalists to stay (and for the ECUSA to slow down,) but both sides thought unity less important than questions around women and gay people.

Jim says "they won't be members of the Anglican Communion any more" -- but I understand that the Traditional Anglican Communion aka Continuing Anglicanism had already split off from the Anglican Communion, and that they are the ones who approached Rome? The traditionalists who still remain within the Church of England are using the Roman Offer as a sort of threat to the C of E: "Give us better provisions or we'll go over to Rome, though we don't want to!"

Earlier, Jim P offered an analogy of a father who prepares a room for his son who might no longer wish to live with his mother. That is the dynamic expressed in Fr O'Leary's post: "a sort of threat to the C of E: Give us better provisions or well go over to Rome, though we dont want to!"Generally the proper response in these situations would be to support the mother who has custody, not undercut her attempts to teach her rebellious child. That is what should probably have been done here, with the Vatican helping Anglicans deal with fractures in their community rather than undercutting their authorities.

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